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Sleep consultant reveals her top tips for parents struggling to get their children to bed at night

A sleep consultant has shared her top tips for parents who are struggling to get their kids to bed at night – including ignoring them when they cry, spending time outside during the day, and having a regular wake-up time.

Leanne Palmerston, 51, a perinatal professional and baby sleep expert from Hamilton, Toronto, Canada, revealed that there are ‘simple things’ parents can do to ensure that they, and their children, get a full night’s sleep – but according to the doula, it’s important that they enforce good sleep patterns ‘from day one.’

Leanne explained that ‘babies are creatures of habit,’ so she said it’s vital to instill a bedtime routine from the beginning, and to make sure they go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.

She added that parents need to fight the urge to go in and tend to their infants if they wake up in the middle of the night because they’ll most likely fall back to sleep if they’re left alone, adding that constantly bringing them a bottle during the night will ‘interrupt their sleep’ and result in them becoming dependent on the mid-night snack.

A sleep consultant has shared her top tips for parents who are struggling to get their kids to bed at night – including ignoring them when they cry and having a regular wake-up time

Leanne Palmerston (seen with her kids), 51, a perinatal professional and baby sleep expert, revealed that there are 'simple things' parents can do to ensure kids get a full night's sleep

Leanne Palmerston (seen with her kids), 51, a perinatal professional and baby sleep expert, revealed that there are ‘simple things’ parents can do to ensure kids get a full night’s sleep

Leanne explained that 'babies are creatures of habit,' so it's vital to instill a bedtime routine from the beginning, and to make sure they go to sleep and get up at the same time daily

Leanne explained that ‘babies are creatures of habit,’ so it’s vital to instill a bedtime routine from the beginning, and to make sure they go to sleep and get up at the same time daily

‘Babies are creatures of habit. [Parents shouldn’t] be afraid every single time a baby cries,’ she explained.

How to get a good night’s sleep for you and your kids, according to sleep consultant Leanne Palmerston

  • Instill good sleep habits in your kids from day one
  • Don’t be afraid to leave babies alone at night – even if they cry, let them self-soothe
  • Feeding babies in the middle of the night will hyper-interrupt their sleep and establish a strong expectation that they will be fed every time they wake up
  • Stick to a consistent bedtime and wake-up time
  • Make sure you get outside during the day
  • Try to do de-stimulating activities in the evening
  • Go straight to bed when it’s time, rather than looking at your phone for a while

‘What we see happening as perinatal professionals, is we see a parent has a video and a sound monitor and their baby is sleeping away from their parents and the parents start to hear a little squeaking and winging.

‘Parents [say], “Oh my goodness the baby is awake,” and then they will nurse the baby or give the baby a bottle.

‘What that does, is it primes the baby to expect that when they reach consciousness they will be rescued and fed by their parents.

‘What ends up happening is that the baby will start waking up approximately every hour to an hour-and-a-half.

‘If we leave babies to just do their bit of winging and give them five minutes, what often happens is they don’t actually start crying as they settle back down and go back to sleep.

‘If we intervene every single time we’re going to hyper-interrupt their sleep and establish a strong expectation that they will be fed every time they wake up.’

Leanne pointed out that getting a good night’s sleep is just important for new parents as it is for the babies, explaining that waking up multiple times in the middle of the night can cause something called hyper-fractured sleep for the adults.

She added that lack of sleep can exacerbate any existing or new merging mental health issues, and result in them feeling deeply fatigued throughout the day.

She continued: ‘We know that fatigue has a similar and sometimes worse affect on your ability to drive or operate machinery as does ingesting alcohol or smoking cannabis.

‘The body requires sleep – plain and simple. The body requires sleep in order to regenerate itself to optimally run.

She added that parents need to fight the urge to go in and tend to their infants if they wake up in the middle of the night because they'll most likely fall back to sleep if they're left alone

'If we leave babies to just do their bit of winging and give them five minutes, what often happens is they don't actually start crying as they settle back down and go back to sleep,' she said

She added that parents need to fight the urge to go in and tend to their infants if they wake up in the middle of the night because they’ll most likely fall back to sleep if they’re left alone

'If we intervene every single time we're going to hyper-interrupt their sleep and establish a strong expectation that they will be fed every time they wake up,' Leanne explained

‘If we intervene every single time we’re going to hyper-interrupt their sleep and establish a strong expectation that they will be fed every time they wake up,’ Leanne explained

‘If we think of the body as a machine – sleep is the grease that keeps the gears running smoothly.

‘If we don’t have enough sleep then the gears start to grind out and damage the machine itself. If we’re not sleeping it has a direct correlation to metabolic diseases.

‘Lack of sleep causes inflammation which leads to metabolic disease and symptoms of the metabolic disease include high blood pressure, weight issues and insulin resistance.

‘We are looking at a whole host of conditions which leads towards diabetes and heart disease.

‘We don’t want parents living, even if it is for a few months or so, in misery which can impact many areas of their life. This is a very far-reaching problem that I don’t think many people understand.’

Strict schedule: According to Leanne, other tips for people to get a good night's sleep is to stick to a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, and to go outside during the day

Strict schedule: According to Leanne, other tips for people to get a good night’s sleep is to stick to a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, and to go outside during the day

The doula (seen with one of her kids) also suggested participating in de-stimulating activities in the evening, and going straight to sleep when it's time, rather than looking at your phone

The doula (seen with one of her kids) also suggested participating in de-stimulating activities in the evening, and going straight to sleep when it’s time, rather than looking at your phone

According to Leanne, other tips for people to get a good night’s sleep is to stick to a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, go outside during the day, participate in de-stimulating activities in the evening, and go straight to sleep when it’s time, rather than looking at your phone for a while. 

She explained that going to bed and getting up at the same time every day will reinforce the circadian rhythm – physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle.

‘Just like with babies, consistency is key. Consistent bedtimes, consistent wake times – even on your days off,’ she said.

‘We all want to run to the pub, maybe have a bunch of drinks, come home quite late and then sleep in, in the morning perhaps if we don’t have to get up with our pets or children.

‘But those can interrupt our habits and make it a little harder to slip back into a better habit during the work week.’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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